Lucarellis land one-two punch at Champlain

After entering the event in fourth place, Steve Lucarelli surged ahead to win by more than a pound.

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - If you have to give up a two-day lead, at least yield it to someone you like. Suffice it to say, New Hampshire pro Joe Lucarelli probably felt OK about watching his dad, Steve, surge past him to win the Stren Northern Division event on Lake Champlain. The elder Lucarelli was visibly overcome with mixed emotions - a sentimental blend of victorious glee tempered with a bit of sadness over his son's understandable disappointment. When Joe topped the pro division on day one, Steve placed ninth and proudly stated: "I'd finish behind him any day." Nevertheless, there can be only one winner on paper. For his accomplishment, Steve Lucarelli took home $20,561 and a Ranger boat, motor and trailer package. The final round saw cloudy, blustery conditions turn to an all-out drench-fest by midday. Despite roughFather and son, Steve and Joe Lucarelli share a family moment after Steve was announced as the winner. water, which made boat positioning and finesse presentations very challenging, all 10 pros and nine co-anglers caught limits. Steve Lucarelli's 20-pound, 6-ounce bag was the day's largest. Added to 18-15 from day one and 17-11 on day two, his final round effort yielded a total of 57-0 and a winning margin of 1 pound, 3 ounces. When he loaded his fish into the in-water weigh-in tank, it was one big brown beast after another - that is, until he pulled out a green one for No. 5. Apparently, friendly kidding from fellow anglers had him pretty proud of that largemouth. Boldly displaying his last fish, Lucarelli said: "This is for all of my buddies back in New Hampshire who said I couldn't catch one of these." Steve Lucarelli was quick to point out his largemouth prowess to his New Hampshire buddies.Lucarelli caught his fish on a Carolina rigged lizard and a dropshot. With no interest in running to multiple spots in rough conditions, he staked out a promising area with good vegetation that was harboring abundant forage in about 18 feet. Patience proved to be the best strategy. "These fish are transient - they're nomads," Lucarelli said. "We just had to wait for them to come by. Where I fished was a feeding station and I liked the particular combination of weeds. You just had to sit there and rot. That's my strength. "This lake is too big, it was too rough and I'm too old to run around. I just find a spot that I think I can get them on and I wait them out." Lucarelli bagged his largemouth - the fish that probably secured his victory with less than an hour before check-in. "That was something. A school of largemouth came through and I picked up three good ones, my co-angler picked up a few medium-sized ones and then they were gone." Wrong wind pushes Joe Lucarelli down to second He certainly appeared poised to lock up the wire-to-wire victory, but despite topping the field for the first two days and entering the final round with nearly a 3-pound lead, Central Harbor, N.H. pro JoeAfter leading the event for two days, Joe Lucarelli struggled with an east wind and slipped to second. Lucarelli succumbed to simple mathematics - his dad's productivity increased, while his decreased. On day one, Lucarelli caught a limit weighing 21 pounds, 8 ounces and bolstered it with 18-3 on day two. In the finale, his 16-2 gave him a second-place total of 55-13. Lucarelli relied mostly on a green pumpkin Gary Yamamoto Flappin Hog. He flipped this bait on a football head jig and fished it on a Carolina rig. He was hoping to capitalize on the strong largemouth action he had found earlier in the week, but with the day's blow coming mostly from the east, Lake Champlain just didn't cooperate. "I could work with any wind but an east wind," he said. "That east wind was right on my (largemouth) water and kind of wrecked it. I had to switch up to smallmouth, but they just didn't bite well. I got one good one and that was it. "There was a brief period when the wind switched from east to south. The water kind of slicked off and the fish bit for about 40 minutes and then they just quit." Lucarelli ended up catching his limit of smallies over clean bottom with abundant grass in 20-22 feet. Noting the fishing tradition he shares with his father, he said: "He always used to tell me `You can't get into trouble when you have a fishing rod in your hand'." Despite slow start, Sheldrake rises to third A slow start didnHis 19-pound, 8-ounce stringer was second only to Steve Lucarelli's winning bag, but when the dust settled Donald Sheldrake of Sandford, Ont., had risen four notches to finish third. Adding his final day score to his 17-10 and 17-13 from days one and two gave him a total of 54-15. "The day actually didn't start off too well," Shelldrake said. "I got one good fish early in the morning and by 11 o'clock, I still only had one fish. I told my co-angler that we would fish until 2 o'clock, no matter what we had. I wasn't prepared to beat the boat up or beat our fish up, so that was the plan." Fortunately, Shelldrake had located a productive spot earlier in the week that had produced well for him and another boat during days one and two. Returning to that spot proved to be his day-saver. "We just kept refining our drifts and got lucky and caught some nice fish," Shelldrake said. "I caught almost every one of my fish on a Carolina rig with a green lizard. They loved that bait today." Kennedy celebrates birthday with fourth place finish Jimmy Kennedy of Plainfield, Vt., celebrated his birthday on Lake Champlain and the bass wereMoving up four spots to fourth place was a nice birthday gift for Jimmy Kennedy. generous enough to give him a nice gift - an 18-pound, 9-ounce stringer that moved him up four spots to a fourth-place finish with 53-15. "I forgot it was my birthday until my co-angler reminded me," Kennedy said. "I kind of got off to a slow start after that." Kennedy reached the top-10 with consistent performances of 17-15 and 17-7 on the first two days. On day three, he caught his fish on dropshots rigged with Slammers and wacky-rigged Senkos. For his mixed bag, he fished over isolated rocks in 30 feet of water for smallmouth and targeted shallow weed beds for largemouth. Baksay falls back to fifth When hard baits failed to produce, Connecticutt pro Terry Baksay turned to drop shots and tubes.Easton, Conn. pro Terry Baksay placed 22nd on day one with 16-15 on day one, but made a big move on day two with a 19-pound, 13-ounce bag that pulled him up 20 spots to second place. The day three weather fiddled with his pattern just enough to take back three of those spots and Baksay's final catch of 16-5 gave him a fifth-place 53-1 total. Unable to get bit on the hard baits he preferred, Baksay threw Mizmo tubes and dropshots with 4-inch Slug-Gos and Slammers. Baksay reported staying busy with plenty of action, but he found quality fish few and far between. "I probably caught 50 fish today, but I never caught so many pound-and-a-half fish in my life," he said. Best of the rest Rounding out the top-10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Lake Champlain event: 6th: Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa., 52-10 7th: Michael Wolfenden of Warwick, RI, 52-3 8th: Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, 51-3 9th: Raymond Gratton of Swanton, Vt., 50-14 10th: Michael Drew of West Burke, Vt., 50-3

Tags: headline-story  david-a-brown 

/news/2015-03-29-lefebre-lands-on-top

Lefebre Lands on Top

Nobody saw it coming. Nobody but Dave Lefebre, that is. The Erie, Pa., pro came into the final day on Lewis Smith Lake 8 pounds, 8 ounces off the lead set by Oklahoman Zack Birge. Lefebre was in seventh place. He was chasing a rookie pro who appeared to be on a rock-solid pattern. But at takeoff ceremonies before the final day began, Lefebre hinted that he had found something special. He was confident he could catch a huge bag of fish. He suspected that Birge might struggle. And he was right on all accounts. In front of a jam-packed crowd in Jasper, Ala., Lefebre won the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Evinrude with the second-best five-bass limit of the tournament – 19 pounds, 5 ounces – in shocking come-from-behind fashion when Birge brought in only four bass that weighed 5-2. Lefebre’s four-day total of 65-5 earned him the $125,000 payday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-29-lewis-smith-lake-day-4-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 4 Coverage

Day 4 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-birge-buzzes-ahead

Birge Buzzes Ahead

Today started off with a slightly miserable 31-degree air temperature, but it didn’t take long for the top 20 pros to really heat up on Lewis Smith Lake at the second stop of the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour presented by Evinrude. Reports poured in throughout the day of big bass – especially big largemouths – being caught off beds. It looked at first as if one of the “largemouth lookers” might piece together a big enough bag to snatch the lead away from Oklahoma rookie Zack Birge, who struggled early to make his shallow topwater pattern work. Unfortunately for the rest of the field, the young gun Birge has the coolness and patience of a veteran, and he stuck with his game plan of throwing a buzzbait and soft jerkbait rig until the sun had time to warm the shallows and spur the fish to become more active. Birge tallied 17 pounds, 11 ounces today, raising his three-day total to 54-8 and giving him a lead of 3-11 over Texas veteran Clark Wendlandt in second place. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 3

After three days, it looks as if tournament leader Zack Birge has the quality largemouth bite in the bushes wired. But behind him on the leaderboard are nine pros doing everything from sight-fishing to catching schooling bass and everything in between. Even with all the patterns in play, few have fizzled. The sight-fishers have reported finding new bedders, the schoolers are still schooling and a couple of guys have even started tapping floating docks. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-28-lewis-smith-lake-day-3-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 3 Coverage

Day 3 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-topwater-takes-birge-to-the-top

Topwater Takes Birge to the Top

On a day when chilly, windy post-front conditions challenged many Walmart FLW Tour anglers who were relying on sight-fishing for spawning bass, Zack Birge bucked the trend and pulled out a pair of topwaters to haul in 17 pounds, 14 ounces. Birge jumped from third place past day-one leader Drew Benton to take over the top spot on Lewis Smith Lake in the event, which is presented by Evinrude. Birge’s two-day total of 36-13 has him positioned 1 pound ahead of Benton. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 2

While air and water temperatures plummeted on day two of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude, the big surprise came in the stability of the fishing patterns amidst such change. Zack Birge found plenty of production on his primary pattern to send him to the top of the leaderboard, and those under him held true to their patterns as well to secure a ticket to day three’s top 20. Among the biggest surprises was the number of pros who were still able to pluck fish off beds. Most pros that were sight-fishing say the bass are committed to beds and that the cold snap will not run them off at this point in time. Despite the cold, some even found new fish on beds that were not there yesterday. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-27-lewis-smith-lake-day-2-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 2 Coverage

Day 2 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-benton-blasts-20-12-on-lewis-smith

Benton Blasts 20-12 on Lewis Smith

Panama City, Fla., pro Drew Benton jumped into the early lead at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake presented by Evinrude with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces. Benton caught a mix of largemouths and spotted bass, and revealed that both black bass species are spawning. He leads a tight top 20 that includes 18 pros that caught more than 15 pounds each. The first day was an absolute fish-fest. Of the 154 pros fishing this tournament, 138 weighed limits. Brad Roberts of Faubush, Ky., has a 2-ounce lead in the co-angler division with a 13-pound, 4-ounce limit. Tomorrow he’ll try to defend his lead on the final day of co-angler competition. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-top-5-patterns-from-lewis-smith-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lewis Smith Day 1

While Drew Benton was busy bugging bedding fish for his day-one tournament lead, several others behind him were scoring big with other fishing options on Lewis Smith Lake. Sight-fishing also played a role in the top limits produce by Tracy Adams, Scott Martin and Ish Monroe, but Clayton Batts and Zack Birge both brought in big bags with other patterns. Click here to read about Benton’s day-one performance at the second Walmart FLW Tour event of 2015, which is presented by Evinrude. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-26-lewis-smith-lake-day-1-coverage

Lewis Smith Lake Day 1 Coverage

Day 1 reports from the Walmart FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-22-arkansas-anglers-win-college-open

Arkansas Anglers Win College Open

Consistency was the key for the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville here in the FLW College Fishing Kentucky Lake Open as Zachary Pickle and Drew Porto won the event with a two-day total of 43 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-kendrick-king-on-guntersville

Kendrick King On Guntersville

Kendrick, who is fishing the Rayovac FLW Series in hopes of qualifying for the FLW Tour, caught more than 25 pounds each day of the event and finihsid in fine fasion when it counted. Kendick was catching nearly all of his bass around big schools of bait with a Houdini pearl-colored Scottsboro Tackle swimbait from 15- to 25-feet of water. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-epting-s-30-pounds-tops-on-santee-cooper

Epting's 30 Pounds Tops on Santee Cooper

SUMMERTON, S.C. – Chris Epting of Chapin, South Carolina, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 30 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League South Carolina Division tournament of 2015 on Santee Cooper. For his victory, Epting earned $3,679. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-wood-rock-key-for-middleton-s-victory

Wood, Rock Key for Middleton's Victory

HUDDLESTON, Va. – Dennis Middleton of Madison Heights, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 19 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament of 2015 on Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Middleton earned $7,199. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-johnson-wins-on-dale-hollow

Johnson Wins on Dale Hollow

BYRDSTOWN, Tenn. – Robby Johnson of Byrdstown, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mountain Division tournament of 2015 on Dale Hollow Lake. For his victory, Johnson earned $5,689. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-21-griffin-gets-win-on-ross-barnett

Griffin Gets Win on Ross Barnett

BRANDON, Miss. – Jason Griffin of Benton, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Ross Barnett Reservoir. For his victory, Griffin earned $5,349. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-top-5-patterns-from-guntersville-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Guntersville Day 2

The second day of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division tournament on Lake Guntersville proved as remarkable as the first – or perhaps better, considering today’s parade of big fish included a 12-pound, 10-ounce behemoth caught by fourth-place pro Trevor Fitzgerald for the day’s Big Bass prize. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-hall-holds-steady-for-lead

Hall Holds Steady For Lead

Joe Hall of Lake City, Minn. wasn’t confident about his chances going onto the second day of competition of the Rayovac FLW Series Southeast Division event on Lake Guntersville. Nonetheless, he held steady with a 27-pound, 5-ounce catch that only barely fell short of the 28-1 he weighed on the first day. With a two-day total of 55 pounds, 6 ounces, Hall holds a 1-pound, 12-ounce lead over Cameron Gautney going into the final day of the Mercury presented tournament. READ MORE »

/news/2015-03-20-missouri-anglers-lead-college-open

Missouri Anglers Lead College Open

Andrew Nordbye and Adam Almohtadi of Northwest Missouri State University of Maryville, Mo., took the lead in the opening round of the FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake with 25 pounds, 2 ounces. Heading into Saturday’s second and final round, the University of Kentucky’s Ryan Collins and Hunter Fulcher sit in second place with 22-14, while Ethan Flack and Konnor Kennedy of the University of Alabama are currently third with 22-9. Details to follow. READ MORE »